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San Rafael Annual Events

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San Rafael Annual Events

San Rafael has a number of well-known and popular annual events that attract a loyal following from the community and the larger San Francisco Bay Area. These events cover art, culture, sports, food and wine, film and seasonal celebrations. We've put together a list of events you'll enjoy and hope you will make a trip to San Rafael to enjoy one or more of them.

Marin Show: Art of the Americas

For 28 years, the annual Marin Show: Art of the Americas has been held at the Marin Center in San Rafael. The Show highlights the indigenous arts from North, Central and South America. More than 200 noted dealers attend and the show is a highly anticipated event in the fine arts circles. For the 30th Annual Marin Show please check the show’s website at

Marin Human Race

The Marin Human Race is a 10K run/walk that benefits all Marin non-profit organizations. Adults, children, and dogs and their walkers can participate at this spirited community event. Next year’s event marks the 30th anniversary of this fundraiser. The course begins and ends at the Marin Center Fairgrounds and Lagoon in San Rafael.

May Madness Classic Car Parade and Street Dance

The May Madness Classic Car Parade and Street Dance is the city’s longest running and biggest classic car show and parade, with live music and events throughout the day. The parade goes down Fourth Street between Lincoln and C Streets in San Rafael.

Annual Home Show and Jazz Festival

The Annual Home Show and Jazz Festival at the Marin Center in San Rafael is a homeowner’s fantasy. More than 200 exhibitors over two days of demonstrations and lectures on all things for the home and garden give you a glimpse into what’s new and next in home decor. The show is well-known for its fabulous variety of food and live jazz entertainment. The event is kid-friendly with themed and age-appropriate building activities for them in the kids' zone.

Marin Art Festival

The Marin Art Festival in the Marin Civic Center Lagoon is an elegant lawn party featuring a juried art exhibit, a spread of delicious ethnic foods, and live music ranging from jazz to classical.

Marin County Fair

The Marin County Fair brings a good old-fashioned county fair to San Rafael.  Since the early 19th century, agricultural and rural fairs were a gathering place for farming communities to congregate, share stories and enjoy the outdoors. The Marin County Fair this year will be July 3rd - 7th and hosts much-anticipated competitions along with modern day rides.  Free carnival rides and fireworks on the lagoon are the highlights and there are more than 13,500 exhibits and 6,000 entrants from the greater Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area.

San Rafael Twilight Criterium

The San Rafael Twilight Criterium is a one-kilometer bicycle course beginning on 4th Street winding through D Street, 5th Street and A Street in downtown San Rafael. Described a “part carnival, part madhouse and part Thunderdome” this world-class professional competitive bicycle race gets your heart rate up as the most competitive bikers vie for the glory of winning. Did we mention cow bells? There’re lots of cow bells. 

Marin Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare under the stars on the weekend sound good?  That would be the annual Marin Shakespeare Festival at the Forest Meadows Amphitheater at the Dominican University in San Rafael. This year’s performances are: King John, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Liar. July-September 2012.

San Rafael Food and Wine Festival

The San Rafael Food and Wine Festival is a local favorite. The Falkirk Cultural Center where the event is held is a historic 17-room Victorian mansion amidst manicured lawns in full view of Mount Tamalpais. Live jazz and classical music, gourmet food by local restaurants and wine are the main attractions. 

Marinnovation 2012

Marinnovation is an event for entrepreneurs, designers and inventors in Marin that is co-hosted by Venture Greenhouse and Marin Economic Forum. Marinnovation celebrates Marin County’s long-standing tradition as a catalyst for new ideas, leading-edge technologies and sustainable business practices.

Mill Valley Film Festival

Mill Valley Film Festival is an 11-day film event held in the Sequoia and Rafael Film Centers. The schedule includes screening, events and first looks for more than 40,000 people. The festival is popular with both film fans and movie professionals.

Lighted Boat Parade

Beautifully-themed and decorated boats in the Lighted Boat Parade drift dreamily along San Rafael’s Canal shoreline.  From the shore the parade is a spectacular show and a holiday event that San Rafael residents and visitors look forward to.

Victorian Holiday Celebration

This festive evening features live holiday performances hosted by Mr. Charles Dickens himself with characters in Dickens attire. Old-fashioned caroling and an authentic Father Christmas complete the Christmas celebration in grand Victorian-style.

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